Children · Children's Ministry · Jesus · Old Testament

Flannelgraph Theology

Some of you may have grown up like me. You went to Sunday School every week. I still remember some of my teachers, the little snacks we got, the uncomfortable clothes my parents made me wear (love you mom), the songs we sung, and most of all the flannelgraph.

For those who don’t know what a flannelgraph is, it is a storytelling system that used a flannel material board to tell the stories of the Bible. Other flannel material characters like Moses, Jesus, and Jonah were placed on the board to give visuals to children to help them engage in the story better. For younger readers in the early 80’s, this “technology” was impressive.

Years ago when we were starting to develop our children’s program at Cornerstone, several of us got together to discuss what we wanted out of our children’s program. We mentioned several things that we enjoyed and felt were biblically important to our children’s program from when we were children. I shared  the trap of “flannelgraph theology.”

“Flannelgraph theology” is the doctrinal error of teaching (usually with children) that the heroes of the Bible like Job, Moses, and Joseph, were the most important hero of their stories. Maybe chalk this up to my little ADD brain from when I was a child, but this is what I took out of it.

We want our children at Cornerstone to understand is that Jesus is the hero of every story. I will touch on this more in another blog, but the overall ministry goal for our children is that they go home realizing that while Job, Esther, and Elijah were heroes, Jesus and God are really the heroes who were intervening in the character’s life to make them the heroes that they were.  We also want our children to understand that the stories themselves point to a redeemer, who is Jesus.

John 5:46  says, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” This means that we at Cornerstone want to teach the children of our church about Jesus every week. At one point our leaders were writing curriculum every week in order to help do this. It was a daunting task, but they didn’t complain, worked hard, and got it done. In 2015 we found curriculum that would suit our needs. We now use “The Gospel Project for Kids.” The curriculum states “Kids will learn how Jesus is present in the great stories of the Bible.” I would highly recommend this curriculum to any church that is looking towards this same mission.

Let’s not just teach our children the old stories of the Bible as if they were Asap’s Fables. Let’s teach them that there is a God, a Messiah, who is in every story. Teach them that without God, these characters would not be who they are in these stories. Let’s teach them that Jesus is the greatest story of them all.

Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, Pa 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes  or Googleplay.